13 Spicy Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes & Clapbacks That Really Bring The Heat
On Thursday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg turned 85, but the Supreme Court justice is not in any rush to retire. Ginsburg has been a justice for 25 years, and in the era of Trump, she has no plans to bring her tenure to an end. Instead, she's going strong, and is still captivating crowds around the country with her progressive views and staunch feminism. Ginsburg is also known for making fiery comments to defend her views, and in honor of her 85th birthday, let's take a look at some her best quotes and clapbacks.
Ginsburg certainly lives up to the nickname "Notorious R.B.G.," which she earned from a Tumblr account created by her younger fans. Although Donald Trump may have hoped for her retirement so that he could nominate her replacement, she has taken action to prove that she's not leaving the Supreme Court any time soon: She hired a full slate of clerks for Trump's first term, which is not typical for justices who plan to step down.
The newly 85-year-old justice has been criticizing Trump since before he was elected, calling him a "faker" with "an ego." But Ginsburg has had many other fierce moments in her career, as she has defended women's rights and other progressive causes. Here are some of the spiciest comments she's ever made, in honor of her birthday.
When She Criticized Trump Ahead Of His Nomination (July 2016)
"He is a faker," Ginsburg said about Trump. "He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."
When She Was Asked About Women On The Supreme Court (February 2015)
"People ask me sometimes, when — when do you think it will it be enough?" Ginsburg said at Georgetown University. "When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine."
When She Criticized The Citizens United Decision And Its Impact On Money In Politics (February 2015)
The current campaign system "is being polluted by money," Ginsburg said during a CPSAN3 appearance. “It costs millions of dollars to fund a campaign for a state supreme court. Something is terribly wrong. I think we are reaching the saturation point.”
When She Reacted To The Supreme Court Gutting Part Of The Voting Rights Act (June 2013)
"Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet," Ginsburg wrote in her dissent.
When She Described How She Would Like To Be Remembered (February 2015)
"Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability," Ginsburg told MSNBC. "And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. 'Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid."
When She Expressed A Desire To See More Gender Diversity On The Supreme Court (June 2009)
"Women belong in all places where decision are being made," Ginsburg told USA Today, just a few weeks before Justice David Souter announced that he was retiring. "It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
When She Explained How Unconscious Bias Affects Women (September 2014)
"I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at," Ginsburg told Elle. "My favorite example is the symphony orchestra. When I was growing up, there were no women in orchestras. Auditioners thought they could tell the difference between a woman playing and a man. Some intelligent person devised a simple solution: Drop a curtain between the auditioners and the people trying out. And, lo and behold, women began to get jobs in symphony orchestras."
When She Talked About The Importance Of Education (2005)
"The study of law was unusual for women of my generation," Ginsburg told Duke Law students. "For most girls growing up in the ’40s, the most important degree was not your B.A., but your M.R.S.”
When She Responded To Former Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning's Prediction That She Would Die From Pancreatic Cancer (2009)
That year, Ginsburg made sure to attend then-President Barack Obama's televised speech to a joint session of Congress — in part so that the public would know that the Supreme Court was not made up entirely of men. "I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I'd be dead within nine months," Ginsburg added.
When She Defended A Woman's Right To An Abortion (July 1993)
"It is essential to a woman's equality with man that she be the decision maker, that her choice be controlling," Judge Ginsburg said during her Supreme Court justice confirmation hearing. "If you impose restraints, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex. The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality."
When She Lauded The #MeToo Movement (January 2018)
"It's about time," Ginsburg told NPR at the Sundance Film Festival. "For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter harassment and that's a good thing."
"Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn't have a name for it," Ginsburg added.
When She Centered Poor Women In The Fight For Reproductive Justice (July 2009)
"Reproductive choice has to be straightened out," Ginsburg told The New York Times. "There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often."
When She Criticized Partisan Divisions In Congress (February 2017)
“I wish there was a way I could wave a magic wand and put back when people were respectful of each other and the Congress was working for the good of the country and not just along party lines,” Ginsburg said at Stanford Law School. “Someday there will be great people, great elected representatives who will say, ‘enough of this nonsense, let’s be the kind of legislature the United States should have.' I hope that day will come when I’m still alive.”
Ginsburg has never shied away from passionately defending her progressive beliefs and now — on her 85th birthday, 25 years after she first became a Supreme Court justice — is no different. Ginsburg has made it clear that her birthday may be a cause for celebration, but by no means is it an indication that she is any closer to retirement.